Happy new year! (Throws confetti!!)
In my casual relationship during the work week with Twitter, I saw a few people mention reading primarily women authors in the new year. It soon led me to this post on Book Riot. Deciding to do something like this wouldn’t be such a change in pace for me — I find myself reading women almost exclusively for no reason except well those tend to be the books I pick up. Proof: 136 out of 152 book I read last year were by ladies. Even so, I realized I wanted to be more aware of this choice when it came to my reading and unofficially officially challenge myself to read more ladies across the genres — especially after last year (ha, two days ago!) brought books like Happiness for Beginners, Girl in the Mirror, and Maybe in Another Life into my universe when I needed the extra oomph to be my own advocate!
To be helpful for others who may want to embark on this women’s only challenge, I thought I would lend a few suggestions from my treasure trove of favorites and then offer up a few titles that are on my priority list for 2016. As always, here’s hoping you discover something new and fabulous!
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry: An oldie, but goodie. Anastasia is a writer and a dreamer, and I love how this old school book shows how much middle grade writing has changed over the years.
Jessica Darling’s IT List series by Megan McCafferty: Family, friends, and popularity come into play in the prequel to the beloved (at least to me) Jessica Darling series.
Finding Someplace by Denise Lewis Patrick: A young girl is caught in the middle of Hurricane Katrina and deals with the effects while discovering the true meaning of home.
Making Pretty by Corey Ann Haydu: Corey Ann never speaks down to her readers and writes with honesty about beauty, sisters, and mysteries of love in this NYC summer story. (Runner up: Life By Committee.)
Vivian Apple series by Katie Coyle: It’s the end of the world as Vivian and Harp know it… in this smart series filled with fierce friendship, family challenges, and a crazy religion sweeping the country, Coyle writes an engaging and chilling 2-book series.
Pointe by Brandy Colbert: Theo’s oldest friend returns four years after he’s been kidnapped, and the effects of their estrangement, her future in dance, and past memories bombard her in heartbreaking, and difficult ways.
Kissing Ted Callahan Amy Spalding: One of the rare YA books that comes jam-packed with laughs as a main character navigates a messy love life, kisses a bunch of boys, and is semi-competing with her over the top best friend in finding a relationship. (Runner up: The Reece Malcolm Project.)
What You Left Behind by Jessi Verdi: A young dad (in his senior year of high school) left to piece together his deceased girlfriend’s secrets through her diary.
Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan: A main character who is constantly feeling misunderstood by her peers (she’s Persian not Latina!) and dealing with feelings for the new girl in school.
Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts: A great look at an unconventional love story, its ending, and what happens after… before the main character has even graduated high school.
Hundred Oaks series by Miranda Kenneally: Looking for strong, nuanced female main characters? This series is sure to satisfy as the characters deal with money, the future, death, religion, friendships, and love of all kinds in a small town. A plus: every book feels like a family reunion (and they can be read out of order).
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Dollar: A main character reunited with the father and family her mother turned her against complete with a cast of a fabulous Greek family, a backdrop near the sea, and sexy love connection. All while dealing with a past that doesn’t want to be buried. (Runner up: The Devil You Know).
The Wonder Spot by Melissa Bank: A black sheep’s “quest for her identity” through 25 years of her life.
Night Blindness by Susan Strecker: Jensen is forced to go home again when her dad is diagnosed with a brain tumor. She’s also reunited with her ex, her own horrible secret, and the realization that she might not be quite so happy with many factors in her life.
The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard: Contemporary fiction with a flashback pinpointing when Kirsten’s brother s accused of murder and her family’s future is forever changed.
Steal the North by Heather Bergstrom: The Pacific Northwest is the backdrop in this novel about family secrets, religion, and young love.
The One That Got Away by Bethany Chase: For those who love binge watching HGTV, Austin, Texas, and second chance love stories.
Summer Sisters by Judy Blume: A journey through the years of two unlikely childhood best friends.
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett (a memoir): A tale of friendship between two college friends and their journeys into writing.
What Remains by Carole Radziwill (a memoir): Before she was a housewife of NYC, Carole fell in love and married a prince, and was best friends with JFK Jr’s wife. This book tells the story of her husband’s cancer and losing her best friends in a plane crash. (Tissues in hand, people!)
on my reading list
The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry: This book was gifted to me last Christmas by Hannah of So Obsessed With Blog who called the book “tale of murder and mayhem is ultimately an ode to friendship and fun”.
Something Real by Heather Demetrios: A child who grew up on TV on a reality show trying to live a normal life until a TV reunion of the show is announced.
All the Rage by Courtney Summers: (YA; St. Martin’s Press; 2015): A girl from “the wrong side” of town” and the sheriff’s son/golden boy in a book about truth and sexual violence.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu: (YA, Roaring Brook Press, 2014): Another highly recommended novel about four high school students about slut-shaming, bullying, and death.
The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez (YA, Simon Pulse, 2012): Two sisters, and secrets.
Why Can’t I Be You by Allie Larkin (Fiction, Plume, 2013 ): “A portrait of friendship and identity”.
The Disenchantments by Nina LeCour (YA, Dutton,2012): A road trip, a band, and some unrequited love.
Negroland by Margo Jefferson (Memoir, Pantheon, 2015): Full disclosure that Margo Jefferson is one of my favorite college professors but I’m so looking forward to diving into her latest book about growing up in Chicago amongst “the colored elite” — as she calls it.
Wendy and the Lost Boys: The Uncommon Life of Wendy Wasserstein by Julie Salamon (Biography, Penguin Press, 2011): A look at the gone too soon playwright of The Heidi Chronicles.
Big Magic: Creative Life Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert (Non-fiction, Riverhead Books, 2015): I’ve been enjoying the Big Magic podcast, and I’m looking forward to the book that started it all to give me a little push in a creative direction.
Whew! I’m ready to get started. I’d love to hear your books by awesome ladies recs (especially non-fic since I’m lacking in that department)!
Psst. Turns out all the books that most impacted me in 2015 were by females so you may want to stop by and read that too!